Sunday, June 8, 2008

6/8/08 MADISON Severe crash victim doesn't know quit

Here's a news story, one year later, on my student Sarah who was in that horrible car crash last year. I blogged about it several times and asked for lots of prayers. Shame on me, I don't think I ever reported on her miracle recovery and return to UMF. Inspired by the amazing people that helped her recover, she switched her major from Secondary English (being a high school English teacher) to Rehabilitation. But then her love of teaching kept rising to the top so she switched her major to Community Health, so she's still involved in health and rehabilitation AND she can be a teacher. I'm very excited for her.

Here's the newspaper story, retrieved 6/8/08 from

MADISON Severe crash victim doesn't know quit
Staff Writer

Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel

MADISON -- Don't let her soft, sweet voice fool you.

Sarah Mueller is steely when confronting her demons. She defeats them.

The 18-year-old Madison resident, who just finished her sophomore year at University of Maine at Farmington, was nearly killed in a horrific car accident last year in Mercer. The crash killed the drunk driver with whom she collided, leaving Mueller in critical condition.

That was on the night of May 5 -- a month before Mueller was to ride her bicycle in the annual Trek Across Maine for the American Lung Association of Maine.

But this year, Mueller is back. Not only will she ride in this year's Trek, but on the anniversary of the accident, Mueller rode her bike from Farmington to the accident scene.

"She called me from her cell phone just to say she was alive," said her mother, Lisa Mueller. "That's how determined she is."

Sarah Mueller said she wanted to prove something to herself. Besides, it was a nice day.

"I just wanted to go back and say, 'ha-ha,'" Mueller said. "It felt good to do it. I'm just amazed at what the human body can do. My legs were shattered."

Mueller also suffered other fractures, chest trauma and a brain injury. Rescue personnel flew her to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston, where doctors induced a coma.

"I can't remember what happened about half an hour before it happened," she said. "I was at the Opera House in Waterville, for a friend's play."

She spent a month and one-half in the hospital.

On Tuesday, Mueller began training in earnest for the Trek. She rode the 40 miles from UMF, where she holds a summer job, to her Madison home, by way of New Portland.

It might be shorter by way of Starks, but Mueller wants to increase her mileage, not shorten yet. The Trek, after all, average sup to 60 miles a day.

"Through New Portland is less curvy," she said. "There are a lot of crazy people on the road. "It probably would have been better if it hadn't started pouring. But I'll go back out again on Thursday."

Mueller, majoring in community health education at UMF, is a 2006 graduate of Carrabec High School. She was still living in Anson when she became inspired to ride in the annual benefit.

"Two years ago, I saw them along the Trek route in Anson," she recalled. "There were hundreds and hundreds. Just seeing so many people doing this, it was so inspirational."

Now, Mueller serves as inspiration. Her older sister Crystal rode in her stead at last year's Trek, but Sarah Mueller will be at the starting line on June 13.

"She was determined from the time she came out of her coma she was going to do the Trek," her mother said. "She worked hard. She has bad days with aches and pains, but she's doing well."


Larry Grard -- 861-9239

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